Intraoral Basal Cell Carcinoma, a Rare Neoplasm: Report of Three New Cases with Literature Review

T. R. Woods, D. M. Cohen, M. N. Islam, F. J. Kratochvil, J. C.B. Stewart, S. L. Reeder, I. Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Intraoral basal cell carcinoma (IOBCC) is an extremely rare entity that bears close microscopic resemblance to and is often confused with the peripheral ameloblastoma (PA). Basal cell carcinomas are thought to arise from pluripotential basal cells present within surface epithelium and adnexal structures, so theoretically they can arise within the oral cavity. Many of the early cases reported as IOBCC actually represent PA. Most of the well documented cases arise from the gingiva. The histologic features of basal cell carcinoma that help separate it from a PA include: tumor arising from surface epithelium, scattered mitotic figures and apoptotic cells, presence of mucoid ground substance and tumor infiltrating widely throughout the connective tissue and often exhibiting a prominent retraction artifact. Clinically IOBCC resemble carcinomas, compared to the benign and innocuous appearance of the PA and typically presents as surface ulcerations varying from rodent ulcer to an ulcerated erythroplakia appearance. This contrasts with the classic "bump on the gum" appearance of PAs with usually intact surface and appearing as small discrete, sessile, exophytic lesions. Importantly, the proliferative basaloid epithelium demonstrates positive immunoreactivity for the anti-epithelial antibody, Ber-EP4, a cell surface glycoprotein. The IOBCC has the potential for local recurrence and aggressive behavior and should be treated with wide surgical excision and close clinical follow up. We present 3 rare cases of IOBCC and discuss the salient histologic, immunohistochemical and clinical features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-348
Number of pages10
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ber-EP4
  • Calretinin
  • EMA
  • Intraoral basal cell carcinoma
  • Peripheral ameloblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Oncology


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